Tullum: Why we fell in love with this great town and never wanted to leave.
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
Tulum, a small town on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico's Yucatan state is home to the ancient Mayan port, while at the same time today being Mexico's most popular place for beach and party goers.
Two and a half hours drive from Cancun to Tulum. Having already spent so many days travelling inland Mexico, a beach side resort was exactly what was needed to have a relaxing time.
We, my friend and I, booked our trip only a month before the peak season that we only managed to find an available room in town and not on the beach. We almost skipped Tulum altogether due to lack of hotel availability and the ridiculous prices. The beach side hotels were over priced and booked up even though reviews on Booking.com and TripAdvisor weren’t all that for the price!
The hotel we found was in town on a main road called Wish Tulum. In all fairness it wasn’t all that for the price we paid but it was comfortable enough.
Tulum is a very laid back chilled town that combines beach, beach parties, historical ruins, great shopping and awesome vibes with loads of tequila all in one place. It’s also gathered the most beautiful people from all over the world and thrown them in Tulum. Everywhere we looked there were magazine cover like beautiful men and women, models, people we could have sworn we had seen on TV.
The famous Tulum archaeological ruins were a 15 mins drive from the hotel. First stopping off at the very start of the entrance which boasts plenty of tourist shops to buy hats, beach wraps, hammocks and everything under the sun, made in Mexico. We loved they had nothing imported there, it was all made in Mexico. Of course no purchase can be made there without haggling, haggling and haggling some more. .
We bought our tickets and entered the archaeological site through a small tunnel where we had to wait for people to come through before walking through ourselves. We saw a White nosed Coati which looked like a Raccoon had mated with a bear. It was absolutely cute and harmless at it seemed like it was a resident of the ruins and had gotten use to tourists.
It was extremely hot wandering around, that a hat and cold bottle of water would have been really helpful. It took us over an hour of walking around the ruins, and spotting some iguanas camouflaged on the rocks. There are loads of those residents around!
We found a secret beach, just the perfect place to be on such a hot day. From our entire trip in Tulum, this was the only clean beach we had come across, one that did not have seaweed. Only problem is, there is no nearby toilet or any kiosks to buy cold drinks. All in all, perfect for a quick dip and sunbathing.
The sun was unbearable and the ruins were good to see, but of course nothing in comparison to Chichen Itza and Palenque. We soon left to find ourselves another beach to relax on. One where we would have been able to grab a drink at least.
We found Las Palmas Public beach which was a blessing, and even though hotels don't allow you the entry to the beach side, you can however stay in front of their beach as long as you find another way to get there. We entered from Las Palmas public beach and walked as far down to find an empty spot on the sand to lay our beach towels. Of all the people that were laying on the sand on their towels, we were the only ones that got drenched from a massive wave.
The downside to Tulum beaches is the seaweed that has hit that side of the coast for over a year now. We enjoyed a quick bake in the sun, and a fresh juice from the colorful kiosk bar, and topped it up with a beach massage which was right in front of the juice bar.
With plenty of sunlight still left, we walked south of the coast in search of a place to eat and to explore the beach side road. Over half 40 minutes walk until we got to the side of the coast bustling with loud music, traffic that barely moved. We saw topless hot men with six-pack on their bikes, and by that I mean bicycles and girls in a G string and a bikini top on theirs.
Restaurants, bars, bohemian shops, coffee shops, ice cream parlors as well as dive and tour offices lined the road. The vibe is something else in Tulum. Everything in close proximity. Everyone just happy walking past us, smiling.
At this point we were starving and ended up heading back to the hotel for a quick shower before heading back to beach road for dinner. We kept note of some of the restaurants we had found, so we can come back to them:
Gitano . Serving Mexican food and more on the pricey side. Had a great vibe, good food, cocktails and music.
Casa Jaguar. A Caribbean restaurant takes you to a jungle setting.
Rosa Negra. Mexican Seafood restaurant on the pricey side but highly recommended.
Bal Nak. Serves Mexican seafood, and very well priced compared to the others
It was great spending time on beach road even though getting there from town often resulted in getting stuck in traffic that would last half an hour to an hour when the distance is actually less than 15 minutes.
After a few nights of heading into beach road we decided to take a day trip to Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve which was absolutely mind blowing fun.
Tulum is all about seeing the ruins, eating, partying and soaking up the sun on the beaches. So we ended up reserving a bed on the beach at Ziggy's which didn't cost us much until a storm kicked up about 2 hours after we arrived. We ended up rushing into the restaurant. The entire beach ended up inside the large empty space that was soon the coziest place with tequila shots and Mojitos being ordered.
I must stay despite our day not actually turning out how we wanted it to be, we did actually have a pretty fun time just relaxing and listening to the sound of the rain as it dripped openly on the glass pane.
Soon as the weather has calmed, we we were ready to head into town near our hotel to explore. We ended up at the table sharing Batey bar with a live music band before ending the night at Kiki as they played hip hop and R&B that night. This is where we really experienced the Mexican locals in clubs. It could not be any more authentic.
We had 3 Mexicans farmer boys surrounding us without a word while we were dancing, and a guy arguing with his Puerto Rican girlfriend on why he kept staring at us. There was a point, when we had to leave as we could not tell whether the 3 Mexican boys were being nice or creepy. So we left and got in a taxi straight to the hotel.
Tulum has such an incredible fun, hip, and laid back atmosphere. Given we were only there for a few days, we did wish we had stayed longer as we definitely needed to unwind after 2 weeks of constantly travelling around Mexico . Nonetheless, it's all an experience and we would definitely advise a solid 5 or 6 days stay in Tulum, with 2 day trips to Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve and the other to Chichen Itza ruins.
If you're heading to Mexico, why not check out our other blogs:
Punta Allen and Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve - a piece of heaven that must be visited.
A Journey into San Cristobel de la Casas- Mexico's most cultural city in the Chiapas sate
Visiting Zincantan Village - Textile and Pox